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Advice on building maintenance during lockdown

UK: The Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has released guidance on how buildings can be managed and maintained effectively during the the coronavirus shutdown.

Commercial buildings moving into shutdown has huge implications for building services equipment with decisions that would normally have been planned over many months now having to be taken within days, says BESA.

It insists that building owners, landlords and tenants will still need to maintain their buildings for security purposes; to achieve statutory compliance; and to protect the fabric and critical systems as well as satisfying any insurance implications.

Many UK buildings are already maintained in line with BESA’s industry’s planned maintenance standard SFG20. BESA says that adopting the standard’s strategies would continue to keep buildings safe and compliant through this period, but some organisations may decide to mothball their building or at least reduce their maintenance regime to a low level.

However, BESA argues that full closure and shutdown is a long-term action that would make it difficult to get the building up and running again quickly when the crisis recedes. In addition, elements of the building may also be needed to support staff working from home, such as server rooms. In these instance, BESA’s recently updated and relaunched SFG30 Mothballing and Reactivation standard may be useful.

SFG30 takes users through a step-by-step process for maintaining critical services during this low occupancy period ready for rapid and full reactivation when business returns to normal. This includes key elements such as keeping water systems safe and healthy (in line with the Health & Safety Executive’s L8 rules for legionella control); both active and passive fire protection systems; safe handling of refrigerant gases; electrical and gas service safety checks and ventilation hygiene. It also explains how to maintain security systems and lifts if they are still in service among many other factors.

As this information could be crucial to getting buildings safely through this critical period, BESA has decided to make SFG30 guidance free of charge to members until further notice and has reduced the price for everyone else by 50%.

For more information go to www.sfg20.co.uk

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